No. 3 Clemson routs No. 2 Notre Dame to win ACC title
The rematch turned into a mismatch.
Trevor Lawrence passed for 322 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for a third score as No. 3 Clemson claimed its sixth consecutive Atlantic Coast Conference title on Saturday with a 34-10 romp against No. 2 Notre Dame.
Clemson improved to 10-1 and became just the third team in FBS history two win 10 or more games for 10 consecutive seasons. Notre Dame (10-1), playing in the first conference championship game in program history, suffered its first loss of the season.
The Tigers essentially wrapped up a berth into the College Football Playoff, giving Clemson a chance to win its third national title in five years. Given Clemson’s margin of victory, Notre Dame’s CFP hopes may be in question heading into Selection Sunday.
The Tigers’ victory avenged a 47-40 defeat in double-overtime at Notre Dame on Nov. 7, a game in which Lawrence was unavailable while recovering from COVID-19.
On Saturday in Charlotte, N.C., Lawrence showed what a difference maker he is for the Tigers while also making a final statement for Heisman Trophy consideration.
Lawrence, who improved to 34-1 as Clemson’s starting quarterback over the past three seasons, was named the game’s most valuable player after going 25-of-36 passing and rushing for 90 yards on 14 carries. His 412 total yards are the second-most in ACC Championship Game history, trailing only the 420 yards amassed by former Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson in the 2015 title game.
Running back Travis Etienne, who was held to a career-low 28 yards rushing in the Tigers’ loss at Notre Dame, bounced back in a big way, rushing for 124 yards on 10 carries and scoring on a 44-yard run.
Clemson wide receiver Amari Rodgers had eight receptions for 121 yards, including a 67-yard touchdown that ranks as the second-longest in ACC Championship Game history.
Notre Dame opened the scoring with an ACC title game-record 51-yard field goal by Jonathan Doerer, but Doerer missed a 24-yard attempt that bounced off the left upright on the Fighting Irish’s ensuing possession.
Clemson then took command, scoring on each of its next four possessions to forge a 24-3 halftime lead. After his touchdown pass to Rodgers, Lawrence threw a 33-yard scoring pass to E.J. Williams, B.T. Potter kicked a 27-yard field goal and Etienne added his long score.
Clemson’s defense also came through as top linebacker James Skalski and top defensive lineman Tyler Davis — both of whom missed the first Notre Dame game — returned from injury and turned in solid performances.
Skalski had five tackles, including a sack and a quarterback hurry, while Davis had four tackles, including 1 1/2 of the Tigers’ 10 tackles for loss.
Notre Dame quarterback Ian Book went 20-of-28 passing for 219 yards but was sacked six times. Running back Kyren Williams, who had 140 yards and three touchdowns in the earlier win against Clemson, was held to 50 yards on 15 attempts.
Clemson has outscored its last four ACC Championship Game opponents 176-40.
–Field Level Media